Police brutally assaults Express News cameraman in Lahore
Farrukh Asif, cameraman of Urdu language news channel, “Express News” was brutally assaulted and illegally detained in Gulberg Liberty Market Police station, Lahore, while photographing a protest demonstration on Saturday, June 26, 2010.
According to press report Asif was filming police action against protestors at Liberty Parking Plaza. The Station House Office (SHO) Ahsan Ashraf Butt ordered him to stop the coverage and erase the recording. The SHO asked his subordinator who was in civil dress to grab cameraman. When Asif refused to obey his orders the police officials snatched the camera from Asif and broke it into pieces. They also beat him with butts of guns and kicks and finally dragged him into the police station.
Rizwan Anwer, fellow senior cameraman of “Express News” told PPF that police was beating three protesters while Asif was recording the incident therefore police tried to stop Asif from doing it. When Asif tried to make a call to Express News office, a policeman snatched his phone, dragged him into in a room and beat him up.
Anwer said, on information Express News’ Lahore bureau chief, Muhammad Ilyas reached the police station. A large number of journalists from electronic and print media also rushed to the police station and protested against police misconduct against Asif.
Ultimately the police called Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) and allowed severely injured Asif to be shifted to a hospital where he was given treatment and his condition was described as stable. Asif received injuries on his head, shoulder, back, arms and hands. His collar-bone was also fractured. After 6 hours the police gave back the badly damaged camera of Asif after taking out the recording tape. They did not return Asif’s mobile phone.
Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif has taken notice of the incident after which a complaint has been registered against SHO Butt, ten police officials and 16 unidentified people. Butt has still not been suspended despite Chief Minister’s orders and no any arrests have been made.
The Punjab Union of Journalists (PUJ) took out a protest rally during which PUJ President Rai Husnain Tahir and President of Lahore Press Club Sarmad Bashir strongly condemned the police high handedness. Tahir said that such incidents have become a routine and will not be tolerated anymore. He also demanded that authorities should take action against the police officials responsible for torturing Express News’ cameraman. Journalists have also announced a protest rally on Tuesday, June 29, 2010.
President Balochistan Union of Journalists (BUJ) Abdul Khaliq Rind and other journalists staged a walkout from the Press Gallery of the Balochistan Assembly on Saturday against the police assault on cameraman Asif.
Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)